Educators Look For Ways to Prevent Bullying Despite Social Media - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Educators Look for Ways to Prevent Bullying Despite Social Media

Posted: 10/17/2017 00:59:00 -04:00 Updated:
(Photo: MGN) (Photo: MGN)

DOVER, Del.- Social media is playing a larger role in many school fights, according to educators and advocates in Delaware.

Delaware saw more than 6,500 incidents of fighting or "offensive touching" during the 2015-2016 school year, the same time period that also saw nearly 1 in 8 students receive some type of suspension.

Dover High School Associate Principal Tiff McCullough said a lot of conflicts involving students nowadays often get stoked by bigger audiences through social media networks like Facebook or Snapchat.

But McCullough said the school's bully box initiative and other mediation tools are pushing kids to talk things out.

"Equipping those kids with coping skills and, quite frankly, how to walk away from a problematic situation is essential," he said.

Diane Eastburn, an advocate for families of students with special needs, pointed to a recent altercation involving a student with a disability at Caesar Rodney High School as an example of how these types of incidents can across networks like Facebook and Snapchat.

A video of the incident involving the student, whom she said suffered injuries and, along with the other student, faced disciplinary action, spread over social media in the following days.

Eastburn said she was reminded of a videotaped fight in Wilmington that preceded the death of Howard High School of Technology student Amy Joyner-Francis.

"In today's society with social media the way it is, it was lucky it came out the way it did," she said.

Bernard Miller, who runs Dog Pound Boxing in Dover and a mentoring program there, said he tries to teach kids to remove themselves from situations where social media may promote unsafe or bad behavior.

"A bully wants an audience and he wants a victim and a lot of times these victims are real shy or passive, they become the victims."

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